I've just had an email from Microsoft congratulating me on having a hotmail account for over a decade - from what I remember I think it was a little bit longer than that, more like eleven and a bit.
Previous to that I used RocketMail, and I still remember the thrill in 1997 of being able to email from the BA lounge at Heathrow just by opening a web browser on one of the locked down NT4 pc's they used to provide - no one really expected you to use a laptop for casual email back then. Even better was the thrill of being able to email from the Yacht Club in Kas in southern Turkey by simply buying some time on a dialup windows 95 pc for a telephone numbers's worth of hyper inflated lira - though a lot less than a dollar.
So now webmail is everywhere - and what's more email means webmail for most people, and basically that means gmail, with hotmail aka windows live and yahoo close behind. Either that or its a service on your phone - and again almost certainly one of the big three - certainly when I got myself a new phone these were the options available - making access pervasive, and of course as all your mail sits on a server somewhere you can access it from anywhere - hence its runaway success with students, travellers, netbook users, etc etc. Basically just about everyone.
And of course, because of this runaway success, we now have Microsoft in the shape of Windows Liver@edu and Google with Google Apps for education battling it out to persuade universities to outsource email with them ...
Certainly a long way from 10 minutes on an NT pc in Heathrow!